Colleges told to ban smoking on whole campus
UNIVERSITIES and colleges should extend the indoor smoking ban to their entire grounds, an expert group has urged.
The zero-tolerance rule would outlaw smoking entirely from each campus, according to the document by the policy group on tobacco at the Royal College of Physicians.
The policy is being launched to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the indoor smoking ban in all public venues and workplaces.
The document said the complete ban should now extend to the grounds surrounding all publicly funded institutions, particularly academic camp-uses and hospitals.
Many hospitals have already imposed this rule.
The group is also calling for a ban on smoking in cars where children are passengers. Dr Pat Doorley of the policy group said that while Ireland has made great strides in reducing the harm caused by tobacco, further strong measures are needed.
"We are calling for smoking in cars where children are present to be completely banned.
"Research shows that children exposed to second-hand smoke in cars, in the home and in other areas can suffer from tobacco-related illnesses for up to 25 years later.
"There are precedents for legislation to influence behaviour while driving, most notably... seatbelts and the use of child car seats, as well as the ban on mobile phone use," he said.
"Ireland should follow the example of other jurisdictions such as California and parts of Canada and Australia, where smoking in cars where children are present has been banned."
Other recommendations from the group include:
* All expectant mothers should be offered structured support to quit smoking.
* A national guideline should be developed to manage smoking during pregnancy.
* Regulate the sale of electronic cigarettes.
"While we welcome the provisions on electronic cigarettes of the EU Tobacco Products Directive, more regulation is needed," Dr Dooley said in reference to the absence of age limits in the directive.
"Further consideration also needs to be given to the efficacy and safety of these products."
The proportion of the population who smoked was around 28pc at the time of the 2004 ban and it is now down to 21pc, according to some estimates.
The Irish Heart Foundation pointed to research suggesting that the rate of heart attacks fell by 10pc since the ban.